Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) Chairman Marc Bourassa has announced that Brian J. Cullen of Cullen Auto Group, St. Catharines, ON, has won the CADA Laureate dealer recognition award for 2017 in the category of Ambassadorship.
The Laureate award is considered to be the highest honour a new car and truck dealer can receive over the course of his or her career. “The Laureate is a true industry award,” said Bourassa. “It is the only recognition program for new car and truck dealers in Canada that spans all franchises. The entire industry comes together each year – manufacturers, dealers and suppliers, to participate in the confidential nomination process. The nomination process itself is a wonderful event celebrating the contributions made by dealers to their local community, economy and industry.”
Bourassa explained that while hundreds of nominations are received, only three dealers are bestowed with the Laureate award annually. “The selection process is very arduous and that’s the way it should be. Because the Laureate is so difficult to win, it’s an exceptionally prestigious honour.”
Laureate awards are presented each year to one dealer in each of three categories: Ambassadorship, Business Innovation and Retail Operations. Mr. Cullen received his Laureate award in the category of Ambassadorship, for extraordinary service to the community and industry.
As the leader in finance & insurance consulting to new car and truck dealers across Canada, iA Dealer Services – SAL is the exclusive sponsor of the Laureate program. Alnoor Jiwani, Senior Vice-President believes that Brian Cullen personifies the spirit of the Laureate award. “Brian’s 50-year relationship with General Motors and the retail auto industry could serve as a road map for young dealers who want to serve their industry and help it flourish. Having played NHL hockey, it’s easy to understand why Brian has been such a supporter of that sport but his generosity spans all sports and age groups, and is truly exceptional. Brian has been both generous and innovative in grooming people for career advancement within and beyond his own dealer group. He embodies the spirit of ambassadorship.”
Laureate award winners are selected by the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ontario, from a group of 15 national finalists. Professor June Cotte said, “Automobile dealers are among the most community-minded businesses in their local communities. Even so, Brian Cullen stands out from among these stellar candidates. As an active community member for over 50 years, Brian seems to have done it all. As many dealers do, Brian supports local sports teams. But his commitment is exceptional. In his case, he sponsors one team, in each sport (more than eight different local sports), at every age level. Remarkable. His dealership has several long-standing charitable initiatives, including a United Way employee contribution program, matched by the dealership that has been in place for over 25 years. Brian has been named ‘Man of the Year’ in St. Catharines, and has spent his entire career building a business geared toward improving and enhancing its local community.”
Mr. Cullen received the good news via a phone call from Chairman Bourassa, after which he said, “There are so many great auto dealers out there. To be picked as one of Canada’s finest dealers is a humbling experience. I’m 83 years old now, and I still come to work every day. I’m honoured by my role as a CADA Laureate ambassador. Coming up through sports, and playing professional hockey for the Toronto Maple Leafs, I always thought sports was a character builder. Supporting local teams is a soft spot for me. The cost of sports equipment today is mind-boggling. When I played you could buy a hockey stick for 99 cents and the best skates were $99. Some skates today are $700 and hockey sticks can be $300. We try to help out. We made our money in the community and we like to support our community.”
The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association is the national voice of new car and truck dealers in Canada, with headquarters in Markham, Ontario and a government relations office in Ottawa. Its wide-ranging mandate includes helping member dealers to improve their overall operations and to implement initiatives that strengthen the relationship between new car and truck dealers and the members of the communities they serve.
For more information contact: John White, CADA President & CEO